The FutureGen 2.0 project is underway in Illinois

An effort to upgrade an Illinois coal-fired power plant is officially underway. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., along with representatives from 17 labor unions and the non-profit FutureGen Alliance signed an agreement in April to begin construction on the project, according to My Journal Courier. Work such as relocating electric lines to the plant has begun and construction of the power plant, pipeline, storage site and training facility will begin by the end of the year.

Called FutureGen 2.0, the project is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the state of Illinois and private sector companies to upgrade a coal-fire power plant in Meredosia, Ill. The goal of the project is to collect 90 percent of the plants emissions. This plant will be the first of it's kind with oxy-combustion technology, according to the FutureGen Alliance website. The carbon dioxide emissions will be captured and transported to an underground storage site near the plant. The plant will capture 1.1 million tons of CO2 every year for 30 years, according to Illinois Times.

Another purpose of this project is to study the CO2 emissions from the plant. The DOE will conduct a full review of the storage site in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

It's estimated FutureGen 2.0 will create approximately 620 new jobs and will provide a $12 billion economic benefit to the state over the life of the plant.

"There has been a tremendous amount of progress in engineering/design and a portfolio of permits - air, water, pipeline," CEO of FutureGen Alliance Ken Humphreys said. "Ultimately, it's just a stack of paper until you have a highly skilled workforce that can turn the design into reality. The project labor agreement is the mechanism that mobilizes that workforce. The agreement provides access to a highly skilled workforce that knows how to work safely, productively and cost-effectively. It also ensures that the labor workforce is sourced locally."

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